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January 30, 2014

Aging in Place Remodel: Growing Old in the Comforts of Your Home

aging-in-place-custom-showerIn an unstable economy and slow recovering housing market, many families are faced with the reality that their current home, may become their “forever” home. With each year, families grow, change, and adapt to make their living environment enjoyable and plan for the future. Often times, you or your loved ones do not consider how the layout of their home, or the accessibility can effect them years from now until it becomes a problem. Growing old in your home and planning to “Age in Place” by choosing a remodel design with your future in mind can make the transition easy and worry free.

What may have been your dream home when you first purchased it can become less functional as you grow older. However, there are certain types of remodels that can aid in your ability to “age in place.” Features to consider may be lower levels for the sinks or counter tops, larger spaces in order to better handle wheelchairs or walkers, as well as installations of grab bars. Addressing these concerns when you are planning a remodel can make it easy to make the decision to stay in your home and benefit you and your loved ones for years to come. Safety and prevention are the main concerns for aging adults and many safety features can also benefit families with small children and make the home a safe place for everyone.

Aging in Place Focus: Bathrooms and Kitchens

First floor bathroom addition can be an expensive undertaking if there is not one already on the first floor. However, the benefits can be immense when you consider immediacy of needing a bathroom as well as mobility issues to reach a second floor. Adding a first-floor bathroom can be more convenient and cost-effective than installing a stair-lift or elevator.

Things to Consider When Remodeling or Adding a Bathroom

  • Widen doorways to provide for all types of mobility issues such as walkers and wheelchairs.
  • Curb-less shower that ensures there is no step up or over anything in the way of your entrance into the shower.
  • Bench or sitting area within a custom shower to allow for ease and comfort.
  • Grab bars (in shower and near toilet) can be installed to make look modern and fit a new or current design.
  • Toilet height to best ease standing from a seated position.

Kitchen Considerations

  • Types of flooring can make standing for long periods uncomfortable and often can become slippery. Consider cork, wood or linoleum.
  • Lower counter-tops and making shelves/drawers easily accessible at all levels.
  • Widen spaces between sinks and work spaces in order to better suit mobility needs.
  • Consider appliance locations and types such as lower microwave or a two side-by-side dual door refrigerator.

Additional Aging in Place Resources

For more information or ideas about remodeling for safety and putting your mind at ease for the future, the following articles are good Aging in Place resources and can help get started on making your current home, your forever home!

AARP Bulletin: “Aging in Your Own Space”
Local Aging in Place: “Aging in Place Home Ideas”

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